ST. PAUL – House Democrats on Thursday are expected to pass their Health and Human Services Finance bill (H.F. 2414) which increases health care costs, cuts funding to nursing homes and fails to prevent rampant fraud in Minnesota’s child care and other public programs.
The bill includes an extension of the health care provider tax that will add more than $2.5 billion to the cost of Minnesotans’ health care over the next four years, and includes changes to nursing home reimbursement rates that result in $68 million in cuts to Minnesota nursing facilities. The bill also fails to extend Minnesota’s reinsurance program, which could cause premium rates to skyrocket next year.
“It is quite concerning that this bill drops the ball on so many important issues,” said Rep. Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Spring. “We should be working to reduce health care costs, not raising health care taxes. Nursing homes need a stronger commitment in today’s aging society, not cuts. And taxpayers deserve to know fraud in child care and other programs is being wiped out, not being virtually ignored. Positive action is needed on all three of those subjects and I look forward to seeing improvements for each by the time this bill comes back to the floor to be considered for final approval.”
Demuth said the bill also includes minimal changes to combat rampant fraud in public programs. Republican efforts to strengthen program integrity, prevent fraud, and increase penalties for fraudsters were blocked.